We’ve reached that point in the year where I start saying…”How is it almost Q4? Where did this year go?”
With the summer months coming to a close it’s time to be proactive and look forward. The question reps need to ask themselves at this stage in the year is “how am I setting myself up for success in Q4?”
When I was a Sales Development Rep I loved Q4. Prospects are finally back from their summer vacations, 2016 planning is in full swing...it’s a great time to prospect! My first step toward Q4 success was always an in-depth pipeline review.
Typically as a Sales Development Manager, if you see a rep struggling to hit their quota, your suggestion to them is to review their pipeline. They may go back into their database, read through their interested and nurture accounts, and call it a day. However, that’s not how you get the most out of a pipeline review. The goal is to rack up as much pipeline as you can before Q4 so that you are able to not only hit your quota for the year, but exceed it. The trick is to find additional pipeline among contacts you may have originally considered exhausted or stale. Here are a few ways that I have been able to uncover and convert accounts that I never would have considered as sales pipeline at first glance.
Review ALL conversation notes from the last 90/120 days.
Now, if you are an organized SDR, you would have logged detailed notes from every single one of your conversations over the course of a year. This is a great practice to get in the habit of doing if you haven’t already. Take an hour or two and re-read through those conversation notes. You would be surprised as to how many prospects are worth taking a second shot at, especially those who gave you a “soft no” during your first attempt to connect. You can also dig back into high-level referrals you received but may not have ever gotten in touch with to determine whether it is a better time for them to chat.
Craft targeted, yet automated, emails.
Rather than building a report of accounts marked as “Interested” or “Nurture” as you normally would when reviewing pipeline, set your sights on a different disposition group such as “Unresponsive” or “Not Interested” that you have not logged activity for in a few months. A well-crafted email to prospects dispositioned as “Not Interested” with a subject line like “Looking to reconnect” may help to build some additional pipeline for Q4. A lot can change in 3-6 months within an organization so it never hurts to reach back out, especially when companies are in Q1 planning mode.
Revamp your approach
Another great way to reconnect with prospects who have gone dark on you is to get creative with your approach. If you have an established rapport with a contact, it never hurts to send a more casual email with some information such as a blog post or article that you think may pique their interest. Use this as the gateway to get back in front of them and qualify them as an opportunity.
When mapping your way to success in Q4, don’t limit yourself. Rather than only skimming the surface of your database by reviewing the accounts you have been nurturing in your sales pipeline, dig deeper into the rest of your accounts to uncover hidden opportunities. How do you ensure a successful quarter? Are you a proactive or reactive sales development rep?